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Which electric heating is more efficient?

Which electric heating is more efficient?

All heating companies will tell you that their heating is the most efficient or has the ‘potential’ to be the most efficient.

Let us clear up this Falaise!  

The truth is: every electric heater on the market is ‘100% efficient’. The reason being when they are switched on, the conversion from electricity to heat is 100% efficient. Compared to a gas central heating system that has energy wastage and may be as low as 40% efficiency. However, heating companies complicate the subject of electric heating efficiency by clouding the ‘real facts’ as they enthusiastically demonstrate the bells and whistles’ of their heater and why their heating appliance is more efficient than the next one.

This can be a confusing subject but one we will demystify for you today!

  1. 1.    We know that all electric heaters are 100% efficient

If we have every type of electric heater on the market, all the same KW and keep them all on for one hour, they will all use the same amount of electricity as each other. The cost per hour will be the same.

  1. 2.    We do know though, that some will warm up the room far faster than its opponent due to the way in which it transfers heat: using either radiant heat or convection

Radiant heaters work by radiating heat into the room. They transfer heat in short straight lines. That means that whatever is in front of the heater will be warm. It does not transfer heat to the surrounding air. Therefore, if you want a whole room heating it may need to be switched on for a longer period.

Convection heaters work by moving a mass of air away from the source of heat carrying energy with it. Convected heat occurs because the hot air expands and then becomes less dense and rises. Convection is the fastest way to warm up your room as the air moves around the room, therefore, it is seen as a faster way to heat any size room and may not be on as long as a radiant heater that are mainly designed for small rooms.

  1. 3.    We also realise that some heaters contain storage stones that retain heat and can maintain heat in the room without using supplementary energy.

There are two types of storage heaters, the ones that typically uses the night-time electricity and the more modern equivalent that have been designed that you can use anytime of the day or night. This gives you much more controllability.

The more traditional storage heaters normally run on a Economy7 / Economy10 tariff. This means that during the night they take advantage of the cheaper electricity as you may be on a18p day tariff and an 9p night tariff. Your home will be warm when you wake up in the morning and throughout the day the stored heat is used from the blocks inside.

The main disadvantages of the traditional storage heater are the set patterns of heat. You cannot turn it on or off at a whim if you are chilly or to warm – it only works on a set clock. Therefore, when you are about to snuggle up and watch tv on an evening they tend to run out of heat, so you need some supplementary heating. Due to the tariff you will pay twice as much on your daytime electric than your non-Economy 7 neighbour!

The modern storage heaters were made to allow the flexibility around your behaviour. They can be turned on and off when you like in a 24-hour period. When they are turned on the storage stones that are inside will hold and store thermal energy. When you room reaches the desired temperature, you will stop using electricity and then the stones will take over and emit heat maintaining your room temperature for approximately up to another 30 minutes dependent on the quality of the storage stone.

We also know that the materials the heater is made from, may have slower conductivity than its opponent. Therefore, dependent on the material depends how long it will take to warm a room.

How many times have you thought I’m a bit chilly -is the heating on? You then go and touch the radiator and its red hot. Then you go and switch up the thermostat believing that it will increase the room temperature quickly!  That is because all heaters are made from different types of metal and some metals don’t disperse the heat quick enough into the room.

An example of this: you are cold in the living room and you turn your heater on. The heater starts to pull on the electricity to warm your appliance and then your heater starts warming up.  Dependent on the metal that the heater is made from, will determine how fast that heat is dispersed in the room. This process is called conductivity. Conductivity in layman terms, is the measure of the ability of a material (metal in this example) to transfer heat. The higher temperature the metal reaches the molecules will move more quickly. Metals that reach a higher temperature more rapidly will mean that the heat will be transferred at a higher rate -thus, warming your room up faster – its more effective.

The main two metals that radiators are made from is carbon steel and aluminium. The thermal conductivity of steel is much lower than that of aluminium. That means the steel radiator needs to be on longer than an aluminium radiator to warm up your room. 


From the above facts you can see there are many factors that need to be considered when purchasing your electric heating.

A heater only becomes more efficient than its adversaries if it is more effective at warming up the room.  Looking for the most effective heater is the key to gaining efficiency.  The faster and more effective the heater is of warming your room it won’t need to be on as long. This means for you, less time switched on, less electricity usage. Ultimately, you will pay less on your heating bills by having an electric heater that is more effective in heating your space. More effectiveness better efficiency as it will not be on as long and that means it will use less energy.

Thankyou for reading this blog post, if you have any further questions or wish to contact us, visit our contact page or call us on 0800 5999 109.

We will help in any way we can with your research speak to any of our team!


Tags: Energy Saving, Electric V Other.

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